The Color Of ForeverBy: Julianne MacLean
A Color of Heaven Novel
I’ve often heard that a close brush with death can cause your life to flash before your eyes in an instant. There was a time I didn’t believe it, because how could all the experiences of a person’s life possibly replay in his or her mind in such a short interval? Wouldn’t your brain be occupied by the task of finding a way to save yourself?
Some say that such a flashback is brought on by a rush of adrenaline, which causes the brain to function at hyper speed. Have you ever been in a situation of shock and panic, where the disaster appears to occur in slow motion before your eyes, yet you can do nothing about it? When your body simply cannot keep up with the velocity of your perceptions?
In other situations, people have been known to take action with incredible strength and speed—lifting a car, for instance, to save a crushed child. How can that possibly occur? Is adrenaline truly that powerful?
Others theorize that the purpose is to help the person to access all his memories in order to find a way to save himself, or someone else. This seems logical to me, but who knows the true origins of such miracles?
All I can tell you is that I believe it is true. Life can flash before your eyes at the moment of impending death. I know it because I am one of those people who—while skirting death by a narrow margin—experienced a rush of adrenaline so potent that I glimpsed my entire lifetime, like slides flashing rapidly before my eyes. So who am I to doubt such a phenomenon?
What I fail to understand, however, is why I saw a life that was completely different from my own.
Oddly, the life I viewed in those fleeting seconds before the accident was not someone else’s. The memories were all mine. I was the so-called protagonist in the show, confused as to why I felt such a deep, emotional connection to the people in my mind’s eye, who were complete strangers to me. I felt a love and a longing for them, with as much emotion and clarity as any other momentous experience, yet little that was revealed matched the existence I’d known.
In reality, on that day I peddled up the mountain with my cycling club, I was a thirty-two-year-old, childless divorcee. I wish I could say I was emotionally secure, happy to be a single, independent woman, and optimistic about starting a new chapter in my life. But on that particular day—like most days recently—I had woken up feeling desperately alone, with a knot in my belly the size of a football. And more so, because my ex-husband had just remarried after receiving a fantastic promotion. All I wanted to do was get into my car, drive to his office, ride the elevator up fourteen floors and rant to his boss about what a louse he was.
Did they not understand that he was unreliable, dishonorable and self-absorbed? How could they promote him to a partner in their firm when he was a philandering cheater who couldn’t be faithful to his first wife?
It boggled my mind that Mark always won. No matter who he stepped on, or who paid the price in tears, he always got what he wanted, then slept like a baby each night after enjoying the fruits of his labors—the luxury home, the trips to Barbados, the Mercedes and the beautiful wife who lay beside him in bed—probably wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie.
At one time, I was that privileged, beautiful wife—and oh, how he adored me in those early years. I was an up-and-coming celebrity television journalist in Seattle with a good chance of eventually becoming anchor on the evening news. While still in my twenties, I covered major political events and attended charity dinners with the mayor. Meanwhile, Mark was an ambitious criminal lawyer who loved showing me off at every opportunity, because I shone a bright light on us as a stylish Seattle couple.
I hesitate to use the word perfect—because nothing is ever perfect, right?—but that’s how it felt, and that’s certainly how others perceived us. At least until everything came crashing down like a jet spinning out of the sky.
I remember, precisely, the day the turbulence began, and it’s rather unnerving that I can pinpoint the exact moment.
Mark and I had gone out for dinner with a few friends, and after they said goodnight and got into a cab, I stepped to the curb to flag down the next one, but Mark grabbed my arm and pulled me back.